Khama Billiat’s absence saw Dumisani Zuma introduced alongside Leonardo Castro, with Highlands making three changes in Sabelo Nyembe, Lindokuhle Mbatha and Spiwe Msimango.
The Tembisa side almost grabbed an early lead when Ryan Rae’s back-post header was deflected away by Teenage Hadebe.
Chiefs grew stronger as the half, progressed but the better chances still went to Highlands as Nyembe beat Kgotso Moleko for pace to drag a shot wide on 32 minutes.
Seven minutes later, the Amakhosi were ahead when Bernard Parker rolled in a loose ball from inside the box.
However, Bevan Fransman nodded in from calamitous defending to restore parity for the visitors five minutes before the break.
Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp made a change at the start of the second half, with Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya replacing Teenage Hadebe.
Ntiya-Ntiya’s arrival livened up the match, as Castro restored the Amakhosi’s advantage three minutes to half with a simple finish from close range.
The Lions of the North struggled to find a way back and Dumisani Zuma compounded their misery with a thumping finish from close-range in the last 19 minutes.
However, Lesenya Ramoraka handed the visitors a lifeline with a deft left-footed finish in the last ten minutes to set up a nervy final few minutes.
However, Chiefs hung on to claim three points and moved up to fifth spot, while Highlands find themselves in ninth spot.
The next assignment for the Glamour Boys come in the form of bottom-place Maritzburg United, while Highlands welcome Baroka FC
Chiefs: Akpeyi, Mphahlele, Hadebe, Cardoso, Moleko, Zulu, Maluleka, Zuma, Ekstein, Parker, Castro.
Subs: Bvuma, Booysen, Moon, Ntiya-Ntiya, Adrianarimanana, Ntshangase, Letlotlo.
Highlands: Heugh, Mokoena, Ramoraka, Msimango, Fransman, Rae, Mvala, Mahlangu, Mbatha, Mbunjana, Nyembe.
Subs: Kapini, Haoseb, Williams,Motlafi, Mogaila, Ndoro, Motsepe.